Film #313: DEATH HAUNTS MONICA aka LA MUERTE RONDA A MONICA
Death Haunts Monica aka La Muetre Ronda a Monica
2 out of 5 stars
A wealthy woman is implicated in a series of murders in this bloodless murder thriller from 1976. Acting is universally good and features Nadiuska (Conan’s mom in John Milius’ CONAN THE BARBARIAN) and giallo stalwart (and Alain Delon look-alike) Jean Sorel (BELLE DE JOUR, DAY OF THE JACKAL) as focal points. Director Ramon Fernandez (LAS LADRONAS VAN A LA OFICINA) does little to raise the proceedings above melodrama, but there are a few moments that make the trip sorta worth it. The plot rolls out agreeably (the film almost begins almost like an Italian romantic sex comedy), but soon devolves into cliché (think DIABOLIQUE or REFLECTIONS OF MURDER and you’re not too far afield) and a stumbling tale of murder, infidelity, and revenge. It should be said that DEATH HAUNTS MONICA is distinctly not the giallo it is presented as - it’s pretty ‘by the book’ thriller instead. That all said… Nadiuska is beautiful and there is lots of casual, ‘big bush’ nudity and awkward lesbianism to keep things visually interesting. The film suffers from the familiarity of its plot though. I mean, hasn’t everyone seen DIABOLIQUE and know how it all ends? Anyway, the film meanders along until its inevitable and wholly expected (and overly explained) conclusion. Notable solely for Nadiuska’s presence and as another example of murder thrillers being made in Spain in the mid-‘70s.